Site-wide links


How interests become ideas
and ideas become projects.
(and how to get space)


Students come in with an idea, or an interest, or they're just curious.

They get coaching, advice, offers of support and help making connections by Center staff and fellows help. They join the community and find collaborators talking to people, and by creating personal and project pages in the NOVA site at

Eventually, they have an idea they want to pursue. Sometimes it's an idea they walked in with. More often, its one that develops through conversation and interaction.


For projects or ideas in which goals are not clear or focused, more 
meetings are required to determine scopes and expected outcomes. A vision of the ultimate goal and a sketch or description of a worthwhile near-term objective is invaluable. A sketch or a paragraph on your project page is often enough to define a project, give you a mission, and give the Center an idea of what you'll need to succeed. If you think you may patent your idea or want to keep it a trade secret, do not disclose it on the NOVA site. See


Innovation is a team sport, even if you're a lone inventor. Ideas become projects with help from students, faculty departments, alumni, and businesses. We help fill holes, help you connect to resources, help you develop your project. As the project warrants, concept sketches,
renderings, methods of manufacture, software, development plans or 
marketing plans will be developed.


Planning is always good, even though plans are usually wrong. A plan is just a list or a diagram of actions assigned to people in time. It helps you and your collaborators "pull in the same direction", and be accountable for what needs to be done.

A tentative plan is required if you seek financial support or space in the Innovation Center.

It lets us all know what you are going to need, and when, and what can be expected if you succeed.

Dedicated Prototyping Space

To build physical prototypes, dedicated space may be needed. CSI DOES NOT OFFER DEDICATED CLUB SPACE, but rather dedicated project space for students, groups, and clubs.

If your project gets dedicated space, you must:

  • put a printed project page with contact information at your space
  • label any work-in-progress that is left (temporarily!) on a common work surface
  • blog your project's progress on a regular basis

Any unmarked objects may be discarded, dismantled, or re-purposed (after two weeks in "Purgatory").

When necessary, new and promising projects will displace older inactive projects.


Mini-grants are sometimes available for projects in good standing. The project must have a Faculty Advisor, and a Student Project Manager manages each project.

You can request funds using the form at

A faculty advisor or the Center Director can help you formulate a good request.